The History of Ugly Face Jugs

Submitted by: Sydney Luther, Gallery Assistant

Bonnie Gilmour, a longtime member of the SCC has been recently focusing on a new line of work: face jugs. These jugs have a fascinating history, which adds to the charm of these works of art. There are many differing stories concerning the history of these ceramic jugs, known throughout history as ugly jugs, voodoo jugs, devil jugs, or simply face jugs.

The first account of the history of these jugs is that they were created by African peoples who were slaves in the United States in the 1800s. These jugs were found around North Carolina and Northern Georgia, dating back to the 1840s, throughout the Underground Railroad, and in gravesites in known slave areas. It is said that the daunting faces were meant to scare away the devil and other evil spirits, so that the souls of the departed could go to heaven. These slaves obviously had a strong spiritual connection to these jugs, considering how often they appear in their history. Slaves were often not allowed to have tombstones, and so some theories suggest that these jugs functioned as grave markers because of this.

Another account of the jugs is also from slaves in the United States, but these people were brought to the U.S. from the Caribbean, where belief in voodoo was very popular. According to this story, the jugs were involved in some sort of voodoo ceremony, and the style of ceramic vessel was brought to the U.S. by these artists.

Another common historical account of these jugs is from the prohibition of alcohol in the United States during the 1920s. Moonshine was stored in ceramic jugs at this time and the frightening faces were created to scare children from drinking the liquid inside the jugs. Other sources state that artists made the jugs so ugly because they supported the prohibition and wished to dissuade anyone from drinking the alcohol inside.

Bonnie Gilmour creates her face jugs with a sense of humor and names each separate jug, which is fitting since each is unique and has a strong individual character! To see more of Bonnie’s face jugs, please visit her website here

For more information about the face jugs, please visit the following links:

"Business Beginnings" with the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc.

Submitted by: Vivian Orr, SCC Communications & Publications Coordinator

I attended “Business Beginnings”, a FREE one-hour session that introduced me to Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WES) and their services. WES is a non-profit membership organization which works with women who are considering starting a business, purchasing a business, or operating an existing business.
Programs and services offered by Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WES) include business advisory and support services, start-up and expansion lending, networking and mentoring opportunities, and business development seminars which focus on entrepreneurial skill development.

 I left “Business Beginnings” with quite a few interesting resources which I want to share:
·        24 page Start-Up Guide that includes:
o   Step-by-step guide to starting a business
o   Entrepreneurial self-assessment
o   10 Essentials of a business plan
o   7 Point checklist for your business plan
o   Forms of business organizations
o   and – the part that I really want to mention – three pages of contact information ranging from federal, provincial and municipal government contacts to Canada-Saskatchewan Business Service Centre, BizPal (licenses and permits), BizLaunch (free webinars for small business) to Western Economic Diversification Canada.
·        WES hosts a Lunch Hour Series which includes topics such as:
o   Selling & Buying Business
o   Is Your Website Mobile Ready? and
o   Image Matters! You can attend in either Regina or Saskatoon.
·        WES also has interesting webinars both live and previously recorded ones:
o   In the Green (How to ‘Green’ Your Business)
o   Keep Calm & Lead On and
o   To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate?
·        WES has educational seminars:
o   Business Planning Seminar, useful for those who are at the very beginning stages. Lending institutions want to see a business plan as part of their lending process.
o   Financial Series
o   Marketing Series
o   Human Resources Series
·     WES highly recommends the On-line Business Plan Development Seminar for those who cannot attend their seminars in person. It consists of 4 modules and is presented by the WECM Entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence.
·     Another on-line seminar they mentioned is 100 Essential Small Business Skills presented by the GoForth Institute
·      One more tidbit: Information Services Corporation (ISC) and the Government of Saskatchewan have partnered together to provide a website to complete the business registration process in Saskatchewan on-line.
WES staff were helpful, friendly and informative. If you are looking for education, support, advice, mentorship or a clear-eyed assessment of your business, consider contacting Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc.

“A Night with Saskatchewan” Fine Craft Showcase in LA

Submitted by: Sherry Luther, SCC Executive Director

“A Night with Saskatchewan” was held in Los Angeles on December 12 2013.  The Saskatchewan Craft Council had been presented with the opportunity to showcase  Saskatchewan Fine Craft at the residence of the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles (Hollywood). This initiative was spearheaded by SaskMusic; also attending were Sask Publishers, SaskArt (formerly SPAGA), SMPIA (SK Motion Picture Industry Assoc) and SIMA (SK Interactive Media Assoc) .

The SCC jumped at the opportunity to do join in on this project. It was thought that this would be a good opportunity to represent SK Fine Craft as a whole and to possibly make connections with US galleries to tour Dimensions and art dealers for representation.

With very short notice the SCC put together a small exhibition of 9 pieces of exceptional, unique and distinctive Fine Craft to take to LA for this one day event. By using images of work shown in the Affinity Gallery and content on the SCC Membership Directory, the SCC staff had invited 20 juried members to submit work to be considered; from the replies received the following works had been selected, packed and shipped off to Los Angeles.

Lee Brady, glass, "Moonlight Perch"

Michael Hosaluk, wood, "Bowl of Strange Fruit"
June Jacobs, fiber, "Gems of the Salt Flats"
Daryl Richardson, metal, "Dimpled Copper Bowl"
James Korpan, metal," Windswept"
Rod and Denyse Simair, clay "Ondas Christalina Floridas"
Dale Lowe, wood, "Maple Burl Vase"
Paula Cooley, clay, "Smoked Quartetto
Megan Hazel, white gold and silver jewellery,  "Surrounding Necklace"

The SCC designed business cards of the participants with a full colour image of their piece and contact information, links to their websites and the SCC Membership Directory. A bundle of these business cards were included in the gift bags along with the SCC Playing Cards and brochure. Also included was a copy of the catalogue for Dimensions, our touring exhibition.  

The display pedestals and lights were sourced and rented in LA. The pedestals available were a departure from the plain wooden white ones that the SCC normally uses in that they were white plexi-glass with internal lights. 

These came in handy as even with the rented additional lighting the room remained dimly lit so the additional light from the pedestals helped to display the work. Bevin Bradley, SaskArt representative, and I worked together to set up the exhibition in the dining room and the end result was impressive.

As the guests arrived the natural flow of the home brought them into the exhibition space first after receiving their programs. I had several conversations with guests who enjoyed the work, had many questions and genuinely wanted to learn more about the Fine Craft artists we were representing. Comments were overheard about how they were surprised and delighted (enlightened?) that work of this caliber had come from Saskatchewan.

I had supplied 17 names of individuals who either owned or worked for galleries/museums that had an interest in Fine Craft to invite to this event. I gathered these names by polling all the provincial Craft Councils and the American Craft Council. During the evening I met Ray Leier, an art dealer, who was aware of and admired Michael Hosaluk’s work. He was also aware of the EMMA International Artists Collaboration that the SCC helps to organize. I spoke with Suzanne Isken, Executive Director of the Craft and Folk Art Museum, at the event and met with her at her office the next day. I had set up the appointment with her to specifically talk about the possibility of showing the SCC “Dimensions” exhibition in her space. She is a source of valuable information and I think she will be a useful contact for us.

The event as a whole went very well and ran smoothly. I appreciate the help, hard work and leadership from SaskMusic and look forward to future opportunities to showcase Saskatchewan Fine Craft. This initiative would not have been possible without the financial support from Creative Saskatchewan.  

Printmaking and the Value of “Reproductions”

Submitted by: Maia Stark, Gallery Assistant

Printmaking, in a general sense, indicates the transferring of ink from one support (usually a type of metal, linoleum, or wood) onto another support (usually paper). A defining characteristic of printmaking is the ability to make multiple images from one image. However, there is a large difference between a print produced through printmaking technique and a print in the most contemporary (digital) sense of the word. Printmakers often find themselves trying to explain the difference between these two processes— often to our exasperation! I remember quite well trying to explain to a suspicious individual that my print was in fact art, and that it wasn’t “just a print.” Nowadays, some may think of “prints” as images created using a printer, such as an inkjet digital print: a drawing or painting might be photographed and then printed through a digital printer. These prints might be well made, on beautiful paper and have wonderful colour and clarity; they are ‘prints’ of an artwork— but they are not original pieces. They are, to all intents and purposes, called “offset-reproductions” and are not considered original works (SCC Jurying Criteria).

Images produced through printmaking are also considered reproductions: however, each one is, in its own right, an original reproduction. Each print is printed from the same plate, yes: but the design on the plate is the printer’s own, produced through hours of drawing, carving and/or etching. As well, each individual print made from the plate is also inked by hand and pulled through the printing press by hand. Though most printmakers strive to make a consistent edition of prints (each print looking like the other), by virtue of human touch each print will be different in some way. Perhaps the ink is slightly thicker on the edges; perhaps the detail in a certain area appears softer than in the previous print. Human nature produces happy errors and individualistic quirks, and I think most will agree that is a valuable thing.

Michael Peterson of Ink Slab Printmakers considers an etching that’s just 
been through the printing press 
(Ink Slab Printmakers: Organization membership 
with Saskatchewan Craft Council—Image by Michelle Berg of the Star Phoenix)

One of the differences between printmaking and offset reproductions is the ability to reproduce ad infinitum. In traditional printmaking, the plate (wood, linoleum or metal) wears down as it is run through the printing press: the edition will be limited, as the artist’s image begins to degrade at a certain point. A digital file, in comparison, has the potential to create thousands of reproductions.

A printmaker will usually note the edition (or number) of prints underneath the image itself; for example, an artist may write “4/8” on a print that is the fourth print in an edition of eight. However, a printmaker does not simply print eight pieces for an edition: they will print several trial “proofs” first, testing out ink colours, adjusting pressure, working further on details that are not printing properly… as well, an artist may pull 25 prints but only 6 or 7 make it to the edition! There is an incredible amount of labour behind each print.
For the reader’s information, here are the various ‘types’ of traditional prints (as defined in the SCC Jurying Criteria). These various ‘types’ are often described with the title and signature underneath the image.

“Trial Proof”: Impressions pulled during the attempt to balance the image aesthetically and technically; Trial Proofs will often show colour changes and/or drawing corrections.

“A.P”: One might see “A.P” written in place of an edition number. This stands for “Artist’s Proof” and indicates that the print has been kept by the artist but it deviates from the edition in some way. There may be a slight difference in ink colour, for example.

“B.A.T”: Another term which one might see is “B.A.T,” or “Bon A Tirer,” or, in English, “Final proof.” This print is the final “practice” print that the artist has pulled before beginning to print their edition. You might consider it the final draft, the best practice session before the recital begins!

An “Edition” print: consecutively numbered prints of an edition are those prints which are considered, by the artist, to be the best impressions pulled. The number (3/9, 4/9, 5/9…) indicates the order signed, not necessarily the order printed.

“Once in a Blue Moon” by Paul Lapointe. Woodcut and Salt etching

I should note that I do not mean to trivialize digital reproductions: there is such a thing as an original digital print! This is a subject which, however, gets invariably more complex and contentious at this point. Sometimes an artist will limit their digital prints the same way that a printmaker would. This would ensure that you, as a consumer of fine art or craft, would be purchasing a piece which is not mass produced. By “editioning” any series of work, an artist is publicly stating that they will not print that specific image beyond the edition number. I personally have some “fine art prints” which I adore; these were digitally printed by the artist themselves, signed in pencil along the bottom, and are part of an edition of 100 or 200. I love that I have these prints, since I could not afford the original drawing or painting or photograph—so now I can still enjoy the image and support the artist! Unfortunately many “fine art prints” made available by large corporations are mass produced with little to no control given to the artist or owner of that image. Sometimes these companies will state that a fine art print is a “limited edition,” with no suggestion of how “limited” that edition is— an edition of 10? An edition of 1,000? With conflicting views and vague definitions of “fine art prints,” it is to the consumers’ (and artists’) benefit to be conscientious about who is being supported. My best advice, then, is to know where you are buying your fine art print from. Is the print produced by a large company? If so, is the artist given credit? Does the artist seem to have an active role with the company? Or, is the print produced by the artist themselves and/or is it being sold by an organization or third-party company that you trust to pay the artist well for the value of the print? As consumers of art in the age of overwhelming digital reproduction, these are questions well worth asking.

To see some traditional prints (and examples of editioning!) in the flesh, come by the Saskatchewan Craft Council Boutique to see more dry-point etchings and woodcuts by Paul Lapointe.